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Our economy may be global but that doesn’t mean we are an homogenised world. There are still — and thankfully will always be — many differences especially in terms of languages and cultural norms. Even today’s key word  ‘localisation’ is spelled a little differently by our cousins in the US. We’ll use them interchangeably in this post, but we don’t recommend it – read below to see why!

English may be a global language, but when it comes to making a real connection it’s all about communicating naturally in your target market’s native tongue. Which is why localisation is just as, if not more important, than translation. Localization is the process by which your message is not just translated, but is adapted to the target culture. Relying on a word for word translation is a dangerous plan.

Most of us have heard of how KFC translated ‘finger-lickin’ good’ to ‘eat your fingers off’ in their Chinese campaign. But how about Pampers nappies? They completely confused Japanese mothers by using a stork image to deliver their nappies. Peaches, not storks, bring the babies in Japan. And nobody had bothered to check. Our favourite ‘ooops’ moment comes from the Coors strapline ‘Turn it loose’ – which became ‘Suffer from diarrhoea’ in Spanish.

Localization is injected when there is a need to find a substitute for a local idiom. For example, the British metaphor ‘Carrying coals to Newcastle’ would be totally confusing for most of the rest of the world. But most of the world does have a similar saying for describing a situation in which someone does something that is pointless.

Don’t take the risk. Read our Localisation page for information about how we can help with the localisation of

  • Branding and Graphics

  • Website design and layout

  • Phone numbers, addresses and dates

  • Cultural differences